Thursday, 18 September 2014

The One Where We Start School

We've started school.

And yes I do mean we!

We've all started school.

Well that's how it feels, and run with me on this because it's not as selfish as it first appears, this is a massive change for me.

Well of course it's a massive change for the boy. It's huge. It's the biggest step he's had to take in his life so far. All children who started school over the last week or so are the same, and this is my point, that is well documented.

Starting school has been discussed, analysed and mulled over since kids first went into education. There are articles, blog posts, forums and books on the subject. You can disappear up your own bum reading them all - believe me over the summer I nearly did.

But what about us parents hey? 

I swear the last time a mum gets mentioned in dispatches is just after she's given birth, when all the texts, Facebook posts and e-mails declare, "Mother and baby doing well."  
After that we're out the picture mate. No one gives a stuff.

Over the last fortnight I have heard stories from friends struggling to cope with drop offs and pick ups as school and nursery times don't coincide. Or a younger sibling having a meltdown because they're stuck in a car seat or buggy due to multiple journeys. Tired 4 year olds falling asleep in the car after school on the way to collect their brother or sister from nursery, then not going to bed at a reasonable time. The pressure on mums to take on more work hours now term has started and trying to juggle that with school runs. Tears and tantrums everywhere. 

And that's just the mums and dads! 

So this starting school malarkey is tough on us parents too. 

I'm not that hard faced though, I had a cry in the car on the way home from dropping the boy off at school on his first day. In fact I've pretty much had a tear everyday since and he's been going 2 weeks today. It's just the boy starting school has had a bigger impact on my life than I realised it would. 

The whole pattern of my week is different and the whole rhythm of my day has changed.

We no longer see Vintage Songstress and her boy on a Tuesday, we can no longer just pop over to see Lemon Cake Lady and associated Lemon Cake family on a whim for a mid morning cuppa. Gone are trips to the park and the beach. Our Wednesday pyjama mornings together are no longer. 

Yes I know we have weekends, half terms and holidays but somehow, right now, it's just not the same.

Damn it all I even miss CBeebies!

But above everything, I miss my boy. 

He has to grow up, to go to school, to develop and learn and find his feet in the world. It's all inevitable and I can do nothing to stop it, nor do I want to but.... well.... I just miss him that's all. 

I miss our snack at 10 and a walk up the park, posting a letter, jumping in the car for a trolley adventure at the supermarket, a trip over to Nanny P's to play in the garden and an ice cream at the seaside after a walk along the beach.

I miss the freedom we had to do as we pleased. Not being tied to someone else's timetable. 

I miss our time together. 

However I find it's not something many parents will admit to. That they miss their little one and they feel lost, overwhelmed and disorientated by the new routine. Maybe the Facebook generation, posting pictures of their little darlings resplendent in their freshly pressed school uniforms on their first day (and I did that too), are all too busy boasting about how better their child is than anyone else's to confess they don't want any of this to happen?  

You've seen the kind of statuses I mean,

'Doesn't Tarquin look lovely in his Royal Blue uniform. It's pure silk and hand woven by nuns. Here you see him on his first day clutching his school book (War and Peace - in the original Russian of course) and his lute - he's already on Grade 5'

My status would read,

"Here you see the boy who's clutching my hand... because I don't want to let it go'

But we move on and the boy is doing fine. He surprises me everyday and we've had no tears, no 'I don't want to go to school' or any major problems so this is all I could wish for.

In fact on his first day, when I picked him up in the afternoon the teaching assistant said he'd been entertaining them by re-enacting scenes from 'Wallace and Gromit and The Curse of the WereRabbit'!

"He's had us in stitches today' she said 'He's quite the actor your boy'. 

Looks like they've got the measure of him right from the start. 

I wish I could have seen it......

Roll on October half term hey...... 

Thursday, 4 September 2014

The One With The Impressions

The boy has a knack with voices. 

He switches off when he hears mine but otherwise he seems to be developing a talent for 
accents and impressions.

The performer in me is very proud of the speed at which he can just take someone off. The sensible side of me worries that one day I'm going to get thumped when he does it in public to the wrong person.

The boy does a scarily accurate impression of Nanny P and on Monday, on his first ever bus ride, (yes I know he's 4 and a half, that's one of the reasons I wanted him to go on one before he starts school, it's a '50 things to do before you're 5' type of thing), he started doing an impression of me.

We discovered this talent for mimicry on holiday, when we spent a day at Drayton Manor theme park to visit the boys spiritual home, Thomas Land. 

For a start I thought he was going to spontaneously combust with excitement as soon as we walked through the gates. Also hubby and I had discussed getting a second mortgage just to get round the gift shop, but in the end we got away with one train (bought with his holiday spending money), a window sticker and a small book and the boy had probably the best day of his life so far.

However, when we were waiting to get back onto the little Thomas train that linked one part of the park to another (and boy did we go up and down on that train a lot that day), a man with a thick Scottish brogue called his little boy to come closer to him. It wasn't the full Glaswegian but it was pretty strong as accents go.

"Frasier, Frasier" called the guy.

Like a parrot, the boy immediately copied him and called the name out twice himself. 

I don't think the chap heard, or if he did he was too polite to say anything, but I was filled with a mixture of admiration at the speed and accuracy of the impression and down right fear someone was going to get punched.

Then it happened again late one afternoon in our local Co-Op. I'd taken the boy to buy sweets to decorate the cakes we'd baked for his last day at nursery. As we were choosing we heard a lady, obscured from our view and from two aisles across, say in a reasonably deep Suffolk accent,

"Do we need any bread?"

The boy mimicked the way she said bread instantly. 

'Bread? Bread?" and then finished it off with the surreal, 'Pirates eat bread."

"Yes that's right they do dear- Pirates eat bread." I added to make it sound like I was having a perfectly normally conversation with my four year old and he most definitely wasn't taking the piss out of this woman we couldn't see! 

But just to be on the safe side we ducked round the back of the shop and looked at the tinned goods until I was quite sure she was gone.

So today the boy starts school and with his talent for voices and impressions I'm hoping he'll be a popular lad with his classmates in the playground.

I just hope he doesn't take off the teachers.... well not on his first day anyway.